A really HUGE thank you for the Common Well Mutual Insurance Group for the nomination and this wonderful write as a C.A.R.E. Contributor for “The Wave in Muskoka” If you want to nominate your own C.A.R.E. Contributor, click the link to follow the steps… https://thecommonwell.ca/wave/
NEW C.A.R.E CONTRIBUTOR!
Sometimes when we extend ourselves to help one person, we end up helping several along the way. That’s the ripple effect of kindness. And it’s what happened in the case of our latest C.A.R.E Contributor, Christine Fishman of Bracebridge.
Christine is an early childhood educator with two young children. When her son began junior kindergarten, he started to exhibit behaviours that were abnormal for him – things like agitation, sensitivity to loud noises, and sensory issues. Christine and her husband grew concerned and began to suspect these behaviours were connected to anxiety. Christine has openly struggled anxiety for most of her life so she recognized the signs.
“We wanted to be able to help him cope, so we reached out to doctors, educators, developmental therapists, and children’s counselors and from there we worked collectively as a team to lower his stress level and give him the tools he needed to cope with anxiety,” says Christine.
On this journey to establish support for her son, she discovered a major gap in paediatric anxiety literacy materials, so she put pen to paper and went to work on a labour of love, publishing her first children’s book called Sweet Honey Kisses for an Anxious Bear. It’s an endearing story about a little bear who feels anxious and often afraid of everyday experiences that seem bigger than him. Mama Bear’s love and gentle words encourage Little Bear to be brave enough to take on his day. The story supports conversations about worries and offers different tools that can help children work through anxiety provoking situations. (https://christinefishman.com/)
Christine hopes that the conversations that evolve from the story will have a meaningful impact at home and in the classroom, and encourage readers to speak openly about children’s mental health for healing and for growth.
“She feels so strongly that we need to be loud about mental illness; by talking about it, we educate others and advocate for those who feel the don’t have a voice; by talking about it, it helps others not feel alone,” says Christine’s husband, Mark Fishman.
Since the book’s release, Christine has been an active advocate for children’s mental health. She spoke to social work students about children’s mental health at Nipising University, and has made other public appearances to spread her message. She makes regular blog contributions to various sites regarding pediatric anxiety and champions certain causes like Bell Let’s Talk.
“It’s been quite a journey,” she says. “It’s really forced me to step out of my comfort zone in order to advocate for something that’s really important to me. We need to get to a place where it’s ok to talk about anxiety on a more open basis and make it less of a taboo,” she says.
For her community of Bracebridge, where everybody knows everybody, Christine says she is incredibly thankful. A team has formed and rallied around her son, making him feel comfortable and supported.
As for Little Bear, Christine says his adventures may not be over yet.
Thank you for the work you do to support our youth Christine. Your community is very lucky to have you!